Make no mistake, Fried Chicken is a beautiful thing.
Though it may not be the healthiest of preparations, frying chicken certainly is one of the more delicious. The most epicurean of palates can appreciate the delights of chicken achieved in a way which could only come from being cooked submersed in fat. Crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, some like it spicy and well battered, some prefer no batter at all, well seasoned and super crispy. Whatever the preference, it is beloved by Trinbagonians.
|Trinidad Fried Chicken with Local Seasonings|
Saying we love Fried Chicken would be an understatement. We consume it in large quantities; home-made, Chinese-style, from street vendors, from mega international fast food chains or our local brands. Chicken with fries is a staple here, and while we acknowledge its high caloric count and health issues if overindulged, the pleasures some recipes give must be termed as addictive.
|The Royal Castle Local Brand of Fried Chicken |
is well known and liked on the islands
The Good, (which may also be the Bad, but never the Ugly):
In keeping with the goal of this blog and presenting to you the best, I can't detail all the good places - tried and tested like Anne's Chicken at the old Piarco Airport concession stands, Georges (Chinese Style) in Tunapuna and Piarco, (their peppery version) or Royal Castle with outlets nationwide with its aromatic pepper sauce, crinkle cut fries and loyal following.
Bar hoping around the country, to the neighborhood watering holes along the roadsides you stumble upon some great recipes which are perfectly matched with sunny weather, cold local beer and high spirited conversation. But a commercial giant has put a twist to their recipe making it the best in the land and unique to our islands: KFC and their Spicy Crispy.
|Closeup of KFC's Spicy Crispy Coating|
|Peeping out of the KFC Box|
I don't know for sure what is in the recipe that makes ours different (can't quite put my finger on it, and I have asked KFC employees, with no joy), it just is. Crispier, tastier and crunchier. It remains a phenomenon which fascinates me to this day, seeing visiting rational, health conscious professionals 'get down' on a Two Piece with Fries, while donning suit and tie after getting their first taste. Witnessing Caribbean Heads of State (yes more than one), when coming to Trinidad, have their staff purchase buckets of the stuff for them at the Airport outlet when leaving, though the KFC franchise exists in their own countries. I also did a great deal of leg work myself (awful, torturous stuff) testing KFC Spicy/Crispy in countries I visited around the world, UK, Germany, Singapore, Costa Rica, Guyana, US and Canada to name a few, revealing none is as good as ours!
|Spicy and Original - And they Deliver Nationwide|
|Crunchy on the Outside and Juicy on the Inside|
Referred to as 'Chicken and Chips', 'Fowl and Potato' or my personal favorite a 'Box of Dead' (as dubbed by the seriously vegetarian Rastafarians) two pieces with a side will cost you $25 TT (about $4 US) and a twenty one piece bucket $170 TT (or around $27 US). The well battered coating has an audible crunch and the spiciness brings a heat that is not so much a burn as it is a warming of the senses accompanying moist, succulent meat when you bite into it. Delicious!
|Japs: Local Seasonings you can See and Taste|
|Japs' Menu at St. Helena Branch. |
Love the Fried Chicken Border :-)
With a KFC Facebook page of over fifty-five thousand fans and many more bordering on the fanatical, loyal to and patronizing 52 outlets nationwide its hard to not say they are The Best (I may be lynched). Honorable mention must be made though to a growing brand Japs, which is slowly eating into the market share. With six branches in St. Helena, San Grande, Valencia and Rio Claro, Japs brings a few good things to the Fried Chicken fight on the local front: seasoned with our traditional 'Green Seasoning' (a ground up blend of herbs like chives, thyme, celery and garlic in vinegar or lime) and always large pieces of meat, their fried chicken has a home made, fresh familiar flavor. In addition, they manage to sell for less, a two piece with fries for $22 TT (always a crowd pleaser).
|Chicken and Chips|
This Carnival as with the Carnivals before in recent history, this great tasting and easily portable favorite will be on the lips and in the bellies of hundreds of thousands, I hope there is enough fowl to go around. :-)
For KFC Nationwide info visit: http://www.facebook.com/kfctt
For Japs info visit: their FacebookPage
For more pictures and food details check out the Belly in Hand Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/bellyinhand